The Case Against Personal Blogging

Every now and then I question the wisdom of personal (or generalized) blogging. Sure, back in the 90s, you could derive a lot of benefit from the practice, because so few people were doing it. Jason Kottke immediately springs to mind as the general-topic blogger everyone wanted to emulate.

This past decade, personal blogging became about building a personal brand. It meant putting yourself out there for future employers or clients.

But there are opponents of this approach. Web celebrity doesn’t work for everyone.

Recently, Todd Dominey (of the very popular, somewhat general-topic blog What Do I Know) discussed why he stopped blogging to focus on product creation on The Big Web Show

I found that at a particular point, I wasn’t quite sure what I was contributing to the conversation anymore. I felt like there were so many blogs and there were so many people leaving comments on websites…you’re so tempted to write something, but who’s going to read it? And what impact will it make? And is it really the best use of your time at that particular moment?

It wasn’t, for me, [about] having a lack of things I wanted to say or to vocalize. It was a matter of time, and, also, just not quite sure where my place was in it and what the value of it was anymore.

Nick Cernis takes it a step further in a classic anti-personal branding post (from his not-so-personal personal site):

I’d rather people talked about the stuff I make than about me.

For me, the greatest sign of success is when the things you create are more famous than you are: it says that you’ve contributed something bigger and better than yourself to the world; that you’ve had a positive net effect on the planet; that you’ve spent your time building something that’s wonderful, beautiful, or useful; something that will outlive you and continue to improve the lives of others for years to come.

I’ve always felt more comfortable letting my products do the speaking for me. This coming year I have several products coming out (mostly content based) and I think I’ll let those products have a brand - I’ll try to have a life.